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Just to let people know Fred is offering an extra discount if you had a booking that was lost because of CMV collapse.  Not a lot, it is just an extra 10% and can delay payment of deposit for 12 weeks if you want to.  Some cruises are excluded, but I think it works for most of them.

Can combine with the Freedom Fare Plus offer (no tips and some OBS) and I think we got our Oceans (loyalty) discount as well, but we have not had our detailed invoice yet.

 

Prices not particularly low, but we went for it as we found a cruise from Liverpool next summer which appealed to us, so no need for us to travel to another port, stay on a hotel pre cruise and pay high parking costs.  Also just gives us the right number of points to go up to the next stage of their loyalty club 🙂

 

May not be of interest to others, but thought I would mention it here in case it is.  I suspect other cruise companies may give offers as well, to encourage ex CMV passengers to head their way, so worth searching a bit if anyone is thinking they may book something.

 

Cheers,

 

Barbara

 

Edited by tring
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Very handy heads-up, Barbara. 

 

It could well be a marketing strategy to soak-up cmv trade as indeed Fred itineraries are similar. 

 

However, I’m tempted to hold off booking with Fred just now as I’m eager to see what transpires with the new ships. 

 

Which means I could miss out on the offer. 🤔

 

peter

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Thanks Barbara, very interesting as I am sure a lot of former CMV passengers will like Fred's similar sized ships and departures from ports around the UK - Liverpool being most helpful for you living where you do!

I would certainly agree that the prices are not particularly low!

Looking at their itineraries I guess you will be on the Black Watch. 

I do a lot of writing for magazines and online regarding cruising and have been on many dozens of ship visits. These have included several trips over the Black Watch - a "real" ship! I guess, though, that her future and possibly that of Boudicca must be under review with the two "newer" ships they have just bought?

I think Fred has the highest repeat business from their passengers and I have always been very impressed with their happy crew on my day visits to their ships.

Sadly, there is a deal breaker for us with Fred which is that they are one of the last lines to allow smoking on cabin balconies. We spend a lot of time on our balcony when cruising and simply can not contemplate being surrounded by smoke from adjacent balconies. I have many contacts/friends who are regulars on Fred and they do say that smoking on the balcony is quite common, so not for us I am afraid. That is perhaps something for people to consider although I am sure many would not be bothered which is fine and, of course, Fred's ships do have limited numbers balcony cabins so many passengers would not be affected.

Thanks for the advice and with kind regards. Peter

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4 hours ago, PrincessPete said:

Thanks Barbara, very interesting as I am sure a lot of former CMV passengers will like Fred's similar sized ships and departures from ports around the UK - Liverpool being most helpful for you living where you do!

I would certainly agree that the prices are not particularly low!

Looking at their itineraries I guess you will be on the Black Watch. 

I do a lot of writing for magazines and online regarding cruising and have been on many dozens of ship visits. These have included several trips over the Black Watch - a "real" ship! I guess, though, that her future and possibly that of Boudicca must be under review with the two "newer" ships they have just bought?

I think Fred has the highest repeat business from their passengers and I have always been very impressed with their happy crew on my day visits to their ships.

Sadly, there is a deal breaker for us with Fred which is that they are one of the last lines to allow smoking on cabin balconies. We spend a lot of time on our balcony when cruising and simply can not contemplate being surrounded by smoke from adjacent balconies. I have many contacts/friends who are regulars on Fred and they do say that smoking on the balcony is quite common, so not for us I am afraid. That is perhaps something for people to consider although I am sure many would not be bothered which is fine and, of course, Fred's ships do have limited numbers balcony cabins so many passengers would not be affected.

Thanks for the advice and with kind regards. Peter

 

I have assumed that the smoking on balconies may have had some advantage to Fred in recent years, as it gave a USP for his few overpriced balconies, but I do not see that being an advantage now he will have more of them to fill.  We were talking to an onboard Oceans/sales rep early last year and she said it was planned to get rid of the smoking, but would not commit to it being earlier than five years after that (another 3.5 yrs now).  I do wonder (and hope) that will now be reviewed, at least for the new ships.  I understood it was generally an insurance matter so it is strange it has persisted.  Having said all that we do like the terrace balcony cabins, which are particularly good if in a scenic location - we went through Suez on one and it was great to be able to just nip out onto the other side of prom deck to see what was over the "other side".  Also great if you get a drink from the bar at the back of prom deck as DH could just hand them to me from prom deck, rather than struggle through various doors with them.

 

Yes, our cruise is a July one on Black Watch to France an Spain, we have only been to two ports previously (Falmouth with VOD and St Malo on Black Prince) though see the latter is tender transfer this time, whereas Black Prince  was able to enter the harbour and dock.  Black Watch is the least favourite of ours on Fred, because of the fixed, L shaped configuration balconies up to and including deck 5 and also the big MDR, with no other options to be selected.  Of course, given there has been mention by Boheur of 2 ships going, we do not know what will happen, but a change to one of the new ships would be a plus to us, as long as the itinerary could still be completed, which is tad of a worry, but we would be happy to go ahead with it anyway because of convenience and reaching Platinum status appeals.

 

We have tended to book porthole or window cabins in recent years, but have often found it possible to upgrade at a decent price later if on Freedom Price and a cruise has not sold well - upgrades from saver fares are not well priced.  Due to prices and BOB we have decided to go for a deck 3 inside cabin this time and see what happens regards ship deployment etc.  Fred may even offer an upgrade if he changes the ship, but if not may still get the price to pay for one, or if the weather forecast is bad we may want to stay put.  We have never been on the bottom deck of any ship, as we have often thought there may be noise for whatever is below, but the cabin is well placed and well away from the rear cabins which can suffer from vibration/noise - we always stay forward of the back third of older ships. 

 

 

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Further to my earlier post Barbara I did in fact email Fred during the week and received a very quick and courteous reply saying they had no immediate plans to change their smoking rules.

BUT...............and I omitted to include this previously.......................you are not allowed to smoke on the terraced balconies that you referred to.

They have been added since I last did a day visit to the BW about 8 or 9 years ago. Certainly an interesting concept, not sure my wife would like sitting there in her dressing gown and/or hair curlers!!!

 

.1432162760_BWTSterrace7043.jpg.eda596a10f1343226e9eea754d2e817f.jpg

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As I mentioned in the first post, I think there will be offers from other cruise lines wanting to tap into the CMV market and wish now that I had not mentioned Fred in the thread title.  It would be good if others could perhaps add to this information if/when offers appear from other companies.

 

We lost cruises when Al Leisure went down causing the loss of Swan and VOD and there were a number of offers around from various cruise lines.  At that time Fred offered a 25% discount, but it was not combinable with Oceans discount, so we got 20% effectively.  I do think that was a very smart move as it did bring him a lot of those customers and, as he subsequently brought in the Boudicca itineraries, with cruises that could be booked in 2 week (or longer) slots, he seems to have kept them.  Those Boudicca itineraries often followed the previous style (and even similar routes) to the Swan and VOD models.  I have often spoken to previous passengers form those cruise lines on Fred - particularly Boudicca, so Fred seems to have kept hold of many of those customers, though not all were completely new to Fred.

 

With the bigger ships I would hope Fred will now continue with changes/options given by other cruise lines.  Not only the balcony smoking policy, but also an option for freedom dining as well as the 6.15pm and 8.30pm fixed sittings currently offered, as those different selections have been available on those ships when sailing for HAL.  TBH we have learned to live with Fred's set sittings with the availability of good self service restaurants (c.f. the cafe style of P&O) and use of room service, but an option of Freedom would be nice.  The set sittings is one reason why we usually book Fred cruises earlier as then have been able to secure a table for two in our chosen restaurant, as well as not find ourselves in a very noisy cabin at the back of the ships.

 

We do travel on other cruise lInes and have dabbled in Azamara (when the price was right) and have booked  Aurora to Canada/US Sept 2021, which is a far better itinerary to Fred's IMO with more port days in North America.  We are just hoping Aurora still exists then.  Overall I would like to see some variety remain with cruise lines, so we can sail to less commonly visited places without prices that get too silly, but sadly I feel all smaller ships and unusual itineraries will only get more expensive as we progress into the future if that option is to remain.  We would be prepared to up our prices for the right cruise destination, but there is a price limit when it is a no brainer for us to choose an individual land tour over a cruise, even if we still do some cruises for the sheer convenience.     

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34 minutes ago, PrincessPete said:

Further to my earlier post Barbara I did in fact email Fred during the week and received a very quick and courteous reply saying they had no immediate plans to change their smoking rules.

BUT...............and I omitted to include this previously.......................you are not allowed to smoke on the terraced balconies that you referred to.

They have been added since I last did a day visit to the BW about 8 or 9 years ago. Certainly an interesting concept, not sure my wife would like sitting there in her dressing gown and/or hair curlers!!!

 

.1432162760_BWTSterrace7043.jpg.eda596a10f1343226e9eea754d2e817f.jpg

 

I assume Fred's staff will not comment on the smoking policy, unless it is changed (especially in writing).  Sorry though as I mentioned those as that is one reason we like them. I am asthmatic so we would not risk the other balconies, though I do know Fred do their best to move people if they have problems with smoke.  The terrace cabins/suites were added to Black Watch and Boudicca a number of years back, but that picture must be from Black Watch, which was done first.  The terraces on Boudicca have frosted glass fronts, which I suspect would be a bit better (I had never even seen the Black Watch ones and did not know they were not frosted).  We have hired Fred's white toweling gowns when in those cabins and I was very happy to sit out eating breakfast while wearing one as they are also commonly used on the public decks when using sun beds.

 

They are not to everyone's taste, but when I feel sociable it is nice to speak to people I know who are walking past, though others do not seem to look towards the balconies, in the same way that people do not stare into windows.  If I really want a peaceful time though I just angled my chair a little, so I was facing away from the direction of walkers - people usually only speak if they gain eye contact of course and the suggested direction of walking is commonly observed.  Our thoughts though are that balconies are an unnecessary expense on Fred, as there is usually plenty of space/sun beds on deck.  Now how that will be with the bigger ships remains to be seen, as with bigger ships we can see the appeal of balconies (indeed necessity IMO on the Ventura and above size ship).  We have booked a balcony on Aurora.

 

Interestingly, I see at least one of the new ships has prom deck cabins with doors directly out onto the prom deck, so could be ready made for terraces - but I do not know if the Prom deck of the HAL shipss is wide enough to allow that like on the older ships.  

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Close friends of ours are on the same Aurora cruise but, like us, are somewhat sceptical about its future - hopefully they and you will make that cruise with its superb itinerary.

Back to Fred.................yes the fixed seating is another issue for us as 6.15 is drinks time and 8.30 is too late!

Having said that, we knew CMV only did fixed times when we booked the Amy Johnson for next year, although we had planned to eat in a couple of the speciality restaurants if they could be booked at different times.

When we were on the Astoria, the speciality restaurant, a steak house, could only be booked at the 6.00 and 8.15 fixed times so we did not know what the plans were for the much bigger Amy Johnson.

Now, we'll never know sadly.

As you say, surely Fred will now offer that on their two newer and bigger ships. Freedom dining is the way of the world although a lot of lines, like P&O have a sensible mixture of Freedom and fixed times.

Of course, Cunard don't offer Freedom Dining either, but at least in the Club Balcony restaurants you have your own table and can eat whenever you like - plus, of course, in the Grills. The vast majority of passengers, though, still have fixed times on Cunard.

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51 minutes ago, tring said:

As I mentioned in the first post, I think there will be offers from other cruise lines wanting to tap into the CMV market and wish now that I had not mentioned Fred in the thread title.  It would be good if others could perhaps add to this information if/when offers appear from other companies.

 

We lost cruises when Al Leisure went down causing the loss of Swan and VOD and there were a number of offers around from various cruise lines.  At that time Fred offered a 25% discount, but it was not combinable with Oceans discount, so we got 20% effectively.  I do think that was a very smart move as it did bring him a lot of those customers and, as he subsequently brought in the Boudicca itineraries, with cruises that could be booked in 2 week (or longer) slots, he seems to have kept them.  Those Boudicca itineraries often followed the previous style (and even similar routes) to the Swan and VOD models.  I have often spoken to previous passengers form those cruise lines on Fred - particularly Boudicca, so Fred seems to have kept hold of many of those customers, though not all were completely new to Fred.

 

With the bigger ships I would hope Fred will now continue with changes/options given by other cruise lines.  Not only the balcony smoking policy, but also an option for freedom dining as well as the 6.15pm and 8.30pm fixed sittings currently offered, as those different selections have been available on those ships when sailing for HAL.  TBH we have learned to live with Fred's set sittings with the availability of good self service restaurants (c.f. the cafe style of P&O) and use of room service, but an option of Freedom would be nice.  The set sittings is one reason why we usually book Fred cruises earlier as then have been able to secure a table for two in our chosen restaurant, as well as not find ourselves in a very noisy cabin at the back of the ships...

It is anyone's guess as to whether any other lines will offer incentives to CMV pax. Under normal circumstances I would say yes but we are in very uncharted waters just now. With so many cruises being cancelled this year, it is quite feasible that lines are telling the truth about next year being quite heavily booked now. The style offered by Fred Olsen is probably nearest to CMV, with P&O's two smaller ships being next. Whether travelling to Southampton and boarding a ship that carries 3, 4 or 5 thousand pax is likely to attract CMV customers is, I guess, questionable.

 

Regarding mdr flexible times, personally I hope they don't go that way. I have always chosen fixed dining, second sitting and still enjoy that. What I have noticed on P&O is that since they introduced Freedom Dining, I often find that whilst I am on a full table, many tables around me are empty - and for me that impacts negatively on the atmosphere. I always enjoyed a full dining room - especially on formal nights. I do of course however understand why others prefer flexible dining times.

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43 minutes ago, tring said:

 

Interestingly, I see at least one of the new ships has prom deck cabins with doors directly out onto the prom deck, so could be ready made for terraces - but I do not know if the Prom deck of the HAL shipss is wide enough to allow that like on the older ships.  

 

This is a link to photos and a video of a Lanai Cabin on Amsterdam. It will give you a good idea of how wide the Promenade is. My guess would be that Fred might try the Lanai option first to see how it goes down with their pax and if it doesn't go down well, will then build on balconies.

A friend has sailed in a Lanai Cabin and liked it. Obviously the doors are reflective on the outside to stop people seeing in during the day but you do have to close the curtains at night if you want privacy.

 

https://www.cruisedeckplans.com/DP/deckplans/category-detail.php?c=2853

 

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13 minutes ago, Britboys said:

It is anyone's guess as to whether any other lines will offer incentives to CMV pax. Under normal circumstances I would say yes but we are in very uncharted waters just now. With so many cruises being cancelled this year, it is quite feasible that lines are telling the truth about next year being quite heavily booked now. The style offered by Fred Olsen is probably nearest to CMV, with P&O's two smaller ships being next. Whether travelling to Southampton and boarding a ship that carries 3, 4 or 5 thousand pax is likely to attract CMV customers is, I guess, questionable.

 

Regarding mdr flexible times, personally I hope they don't go that way. I have always chosen fixed dining, second sitting and still enjoy that. What I have noticed on P&O is that since they introduced Freedom Dining, I often find that whilst I am on a full table, many tables around me are empty - and for me that impacts negatively on the atmosphere. I always enjoyed a full dining room - especially on formal nights. I do of course however understand why others prefer flexible dining times.

 

Yes, I can see your point regards potential offers and if there are I also suspect they would only be marginal amounts - just enough to get people looking at their cruises rather than any real benefit.  The 10% offered by Fred is not a lot and would not (I suspect) be combinable with any good offer which may be introduced, though I would not expect to see any good offers for some time.  I wonder when Fred will publish cruises on his new ships and if/when the two others (presumably the older ones will go.  The book 3 for 2 offer which he has been doing as an alternative offer for lauches in recent years, did not appear with the latest brochure - though that was not published until the horrors of what was going to happen this summer began to be seen in other countries and seem inevitable here (early March).  So I do wonder if Fred may have pulled plans for something like that at a late stage. I am itching to know what will appear and also if anyone does buy the trade name and data base of CMV - but that could surely not be resurrected with the same sort of prices.  We will have to see.

 

I am sure Fred will still be offering set sittings and indeed he may not go for even giving an option for more flexibility, as he could probably make more money on  "select" dining (or whatever he calls it).  We are beginning to think that our assured table for two on a set sitting, would certainly be an advantage over P&O Freedom dining, with the lack of tables and rushed atmosphere we often get on P&O.  We have not been keen on P&O service at all though in recent years, even when on set sitting.  The last time we did set sittings with them was Adonia's launch year mind.  Now Swan, VOD and Azamara's flexible dining have been another matter and worked well when we have been on those lines.

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My last few cruises on Oriana and Aurora have been fine in terms of restaurant service. I guess it helps being on late sitting. On the odd occasion they have tried to rush it by starting to clear plates before others have finished, I have always had a quiet word in their ear. Sadly, in general terms P&O are going in a different direction to me and now only have two ships that interest me. I don't cruise exclusively with them - especially when I go with one of my cruise buddies and don't have to worry about single supplements.

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30 minutes ago, Britboys said:

 

This is a link to photos and a video of a Lanai Cabin on Amsterdam. It will give you a good idea of how wide the Promenade is. My guess would be that Fred might try the Lanai option first to see how it goes down with their pax and if it doesn't go down well, will then build on balconies.

A friend has sailed in a Lanai Cabin and liked it. Obviously the doors are reflective on the outside to stop people seeing in during the day but you do have to close the curtains at night if you want privacy.

 

https://www.cruisedeckplans.com/DP/deckplans/category-detail.php?c=2853

 

 

Thanks a lot, very interesting to see, yes we have had the one way glass (including on Boudicca) and need to close curtains once the light put on (unless clothed 🙂 ).  Difficult to tell, but looks like a narrower prom deck, so would not be that practical to build on private terraces like the other Fred ones.  They look like good cabins (apart from small showers), but I would not like someone plonking themselves down on a chair directly outside my window.  We have had prom deck cabins on Artemis, but it was a bit disconcerting when groups of people stood directly outside, so we tended to go for the ones a deck up that had lifeboats outside, but avoid the most obstructed.  Height makes a difference as well and I the slightly higher level of Fred's terraces makes a difference I think as does the frosted glass.  Looked at the pictures above with DH and we did not like the non frosted glass on BW.  All a bit academic though as that and Boudicca must likely have limited sailing days ahead (if any).   BW really needs to go IMO and should have done long ago.  All hose cabins with L shaped configuration fixed beds are a pain since one bed has no bedside table. 

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1 hour ago, PrincessPete said:

 

As you say, surely Fred will now offer that on their two newer and bigger ships. Freedom dining is the way of the world although a lot of lines, like P&O have a sensible mixture of Freedom and fixed times.

Of course, Cunard don't offer Freedom Dining either, but at least in the Club Balcony restaurants you have your own table and can eat whenever you like - plus, of course, in the Grills. The vast majority of passengers, though, still have fixed times on Cunard.

 

Now that is interesting.  I know very little about Cunard other than that they appear to have a two (or indeed 3) class society that goes bock to an era that does not appeal to us.  Have waved the QM2 off from my (and the cruise line's) original home city on a few occasions though - there are sometimes fireworks.

 

I do think though that any venture Fred does make into flexible dining would have to be done well or he would be best advised to forget the idea and thinking it all through, I can see points against it.  After all if we are quite happy to eat in a self service with the occasional paid for meal, then others can have more paid for meals and hence subsidise our cruising, or at least help keep Fred on the seas 🙂

 

So the only pressure point now is smoking on balconies - I will send an email to ask about the policy re the new ships.  I do not expect to see a result immediately, but the more people who make the point, the more likely he is to think about it, if only for some balconies such as on one side of the ship or the front half.  Feeling a bit like I did as a union rep in one of my past places of employment.............. 

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Cunard.......................our favourite ship by a country mile is the Queen Mary 2 and, trust me, you are totally unaware of a class system onboard.

The Grills have their own restaurant (amazing food and service with ordering off menu no problem) and a small adjacent lounge but that apart the rest of the ship is open to everyone. (just so that no-one corrects me there is also a very small private deck area for Grills passengers which is nothing special and out of the way).

It is absolutely no different to, say, a P&O/Princess etc ship which has two or more separate restaurants and you only go to the one you are allocated.

The Britannia Restaurant where everyone else eats is a magnificent 3 tiered room - the food there is much the same as other cruise lines. The Club Dining rooms are a separate room within the Britannia Restaurant and there you can eat at any time you like, as I said previously.

We have been on the Queen Mary 2 many times and have been in the "bottom" Britannia Class and the "top" Queens Grill for a real treat (it was!!). Out of the restaurant, though, no-one would have any idea what "class" you were in and indeed there really is absolutely NO feel of a class system at all.

The big difference with the Queen Mary 2 to other large ships is that there are only 2,500 or so passengers (probably less in the future for obvious reasons) whereas RCL, NCL and other ships of that size have 4,000 or more. It all means it is incredibly spacious.

As you gather, we love the Queen Mary 2!!

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People make much of Cunard's 'class system' but nowadays they are no different to several other lines. MSC have their 'Yacht Club', NCL have their 'Haven' and Celebrity have Aqua Class. They all have certain restaurants etc that are only available to pax in certain cabins and sometimes exclusive lounges etc.

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